Mike and I decided a few months ago to really "clean up our act." What does that mean? Changes in the kitchen! With his lack of working out due to back to back knee surgeries and my general lack of concern, really, ever about diet, we wanted to start fueling our bodies rather than feeding our cravings. I have sworn up and down that 2010 would be my year for not only the marathon but Ironman. [READ: PR] I'm not gettin' any younger and if we are fortunate enough to start a family after IMFL, well then I need to make this year count because who knows when I would have the time for this type of challenging race schedule ever again.
We started with a simple change. pasta. Long ago, we would splurge and indulge on white pasta and lots of it. We slowly transitioned over to wheat pasta, then rice pasta and now quinoa pasta. The difference has been tremendous. Next up. Welcome back fish. Yes - fish.
When Mike and I first started dating, he would grill or bake fish 2-3 times a week. and I would eat it. depsite HATING it. because I wanted this cute boy to like me. Then we got married and I said buh-bye stinky fish and we hadn't really cooked it in years. until a couple months ago...you see, my exposure to fish during childhood was filet-o-fish from Mickey D's on Fridays during Lent. Typical Chicago Catholic. The smell in the house grossed my parents out so it was fast food only. or Gordman's fish sticks. Not even sure there was any real fish in them. Anyways, I experimented with a non-smelly fish, Cod, a few months back. Brushed it with light ranch dressing, breaded it with crushed croutons and baked it. and it was freaking delicious. I could like this stuff. and slowly but surely have come to love it (for real this time, not for the boy) but don't get me wrong, I still ask the guy behind the counter "What is your least smelly fishy tasting fish?" It always costs me more but hell, it's worth it.
The biggest challenge! Cutting back on salt and sugar. I mean, talk about sacrifice. The salt has been easy but the sugar? OY! Mike and I have a sweet tooth for sure. I inherited it from my father, Mike inherited it from me. I never realized how much sugar I ate in a day. It's in everything! I am really careful about checking labels and have opted for sugar free items if it's a must. One incredibly healthy snack alternative is apple slices with peanut butter. I find that really satisifies my sweet tooth.
I make a point to have protein with every meal, something I never did before. I make sure to eat good fats every day. Avocadoes or almonds (salt and vinegar are to die for!), peanut butter too. Part of the problem when you're craving sweets is that you're lacking fat in your diet.
I feel so much healthier, stronger and energetic lately. This change in my eating habits has translated really well for my marathon training. I am also diligent about taking my vitamins every day. I have added a powerful and nutritious superfood - chia seeds to my daily regimen. Heard of Born to Run? Yeah, those same seeds. I put 2 teaspoons a day either in my protein shake or cereal. mmm!
I think my toughest obstacle has been proper hydration. I love water but can never seem to drink adequate amounts. I have to force myself but I am doing it. slowly. Mike is the opposite. He drinks gallons a day. I have no idea how he does it. I still have so much to learn but for now, eating has become fun again and just like life, it's all about finding the right balance...did I mention how much I now love Brussel Sprouts too?? Amazing. (I am sure my parents are reading this thinking, who IS this kid?!?!)